Filipino Lechon Sa Hurno : Oven Roasted Crisp Roast Pork
Every Filipino event is celebrated with “lechon”, roast pig, as the centerpiece of the party. The larger the “lechon”, signifies how important the guest of honor or occasion is. Filipino lechon, unlike the Hawaiian version of roast pig in luaus, is roasted above ground, with the kindled fire from an open pit. The entire pig is skewered on a bamboo pole, and is slowly rotated for hours, to ensure even cooking and the perfect crispness to its skin.
When I visited Manila early this year, I was reminded how decadent and divine crisp lechon is. During a family reunion, I was treated to a whole roast suckling pig or “lechon de leche” by my cousins. Everyone made a mad scramble for the crisp “balat” (pork roast skin), made even more irresistible with the sweet liver sauce served alongside.
Then there was “Lechon Served 5 Ways” at Bale Dutung (House Made of Wood), owned by culinary power couple Claude Tayag and Mary Ann Quioc. This was the same destination in Angeles City, Pampanga where TV food personality Anthony Bourdain ate. The Tayags served lechon in its crisp original form, and lavishly served it again in 4 other unique ways.
Finally, I had the pleasure of meeting the culinary grand dame, Ms. Glenda Barretto, owner of famous Filipino restaurant chain Via Mare, cookbook author and publisher, caterer and food authority. She generously shared many cooking tips with me and one of them was how to make “lechon” in the oven. I told her how I enjoyed cooking different Filipino recipes in my USA kitchen. She encouraged me to continue doing what I do and warmly shared many recipes, like a dear aunt would!
Here’s my “lechon” version, roasted oven-style. I used pork belly, which is the pork cut used for bacon. The outcome was as perfect as though I had roasted it on an open pit myself. Try this at home. Not only was it super-licious, but it was definitely super-easy! You’ll love this lechon — guaranteed!
LECHON SA HURNO : OVEN ROASTED CRISP PORK BELLY
*Serves 2 to 4
2.5 pounds pork belly, keep whole while roasting
1 Tablespoon rock salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon Chef’s Salt NY Steak salt
- Marinate the whole slab of pork belly for at least 6 hours with the salt, pepper, garlic powder. Cover with a plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 hours or overnight.
- The next day, preheat the oven at 350 F degrees. Prepare a roasting pan, about 9 x 11 inches.Place the entire pork belly in the center. Bake at 350 F degrees. If the pork cut has bone, roast at 35 minutes for EVERY pound. * For this recipe, my pork cut had a bone, so I adjusted cooking time accordingly. This size of 2.5 pounds took 1 hour & 45 minutes.
- Once cooked, take out of the oven. Start chopping with a kitchen cleaver or large knife. Cut the pork into square cuts. Serve with the sweet “lechon” liver sauce, either bottled or homemade.
Posted under Appetizers and Sides, Beef, Cooking, Dinner, Events Holidays, Featured, Lunch, Noodles Rice Pasta, Pork, Travel by Elizabeth Q.